Focusing on strategies to help your business weather the storm is essential in uncertain times. One strategy that can be particularly effective is search engine optimization (SEO). But how does SEO work in a recession? 

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of investing in SEO during tough times and provide tips on managing your SEO strategy to ensure that your business comes out stronger on the other side.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that optimizes your website’s content, design, and structure to increase organic traffic. SEO helps boost website rankings, visibility in organic search results, and traffic to your site.

There are multiple SEO strategies and approaches a business can work on. Depending on your website’s goals and needs, you can choose a specific type of effective SEO strategy to address particular areas of your website. These types of SEO focuses are:

  • Local SEO: Local SEO optimizes a website to improve its visibility in local search results. This type of SEO is essential for businesses with a physical location. These types of stores can include brick-and-mortar stores or a service area business.
  • National SEO: National SEO is optimizing a website to improve its visibility in search results nationwide. This type of SEO is significant for businesses that offer products or services on a national scale.
  • E-commerce SEO: E-commerce SEO optimizes an online store to improve visibility in SERPs. This type of SEO is significant for businesses that sell products online and want to attract more customers to their websites.
  • On-page SEO: On-page SEO works on optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant website traffic from search engines. This SEO strategy includes optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, headers, content, images, and URLs, among other things.
  • Off-page SEO: This SEO strategy refers to optimizing factors outside of a website that can influence its search engine rankings. Different SEO actions include link building, public relations, social media, influencer outreach, and other forms of digital outreach.
  • Technical SEO: Technical SEO refers to the optimization of backend elements of a website to improve its search engine rankings. This includes optimizing website structure, speed, mobile responsiveness, security, and other technical factors.

5 Reasons SEO is Important in a Recession

SEO is a valuable digital marketing strategy that sets you up for long-term success. Especially in times of economic downturns. Here are a few important reasons to consider SEO seriously:

1) SEO is Flexible

SEO is a flexible and adaptable tactic that can strengthen a business’s brand and make it more accessible to potential customers, even during a recession. Businesses can improve their search rankings and attract more customers by continually evaluating and optimizing a website’s pages and staying ahead of the competition. It’s even more critical to make necessary website edits, revisions, and additions to improve SEO rankings and achieve long-term success.

2) Builds Trust with Target Audiences

In times of economic hardship, people become more skeptical about who to trust. Google remains a consistent and reliable source of information that people trust. Therefore, businesses that rank higher on Google’s search results earn credibility and trust from potential customers. 

Google’s endorsement speaks volumes about a business’s experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Businesses must prove their worthiness and optimize their website to demonstrate knowledge and power in their industry.

3) Brand Authenticity

SEO is an authentic way for businesses to establish their brand and become the best resource for a search term. Unlike sponsored ads, SEO requires effort and time to bring a page closer to the top of the rankings. While Google’s algorithm remains a mystery, SEO strategies help businesses prove their worth to potential customers. When Google recognizes a business as the best resource for a given search term, it authenticates its brand and establishes its credibility.

4) Cost-Effective

Every dime must be spent carefully and with an expected return in mind during a recession. SEO is cost-effective because it offers the most significant return on investment compared to standard marketing and advertising costs. 

Unlike PPC or social media advertising, cutting off an SEO budget does not erase the hard work already invested in the website and can still generate leads. SEO targets valuable leads who are actively looking to buy. The money spent on SEO is with the expectation that the brand reaches individuals who are already searching for what it offers. SEO is not about getting a brand’s name in front of a large audience but about reaching the right audience at the right time.

5) SEO Will Always Have a Long-lasting Impact After a Recession

SEO has a long-lasting impact that can benefit a business long after a recession ends. Optimizing your website for search engines is a long-term investment that can keep your business at the forefront of potential customers’ minds for months or even years. Focusing on SEO during a recession prepares your business for the future when the economy rebounds, and people start looking for your products or services again.

Managing Your SEO in a Recession

Investing in SEO during a recession can be a smart move for businesses. Here are some ways to manage your SEO during tough economic times:

  • Continue to Invest in SEO: Despite budget cuts, companies should keep investing in their SEO strategy to maintain and improve their search engine rankings. It is important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy that can significantly impact business success.
  • Find What Works and Multiply: During a recession, it is essential to focus on proven effective tactics. Analyze your past SEO efforts and determine which strategies have generated the most traffic and conversions. Double down on those tactics and eliminate or adjust the ones that have not been successful.
  • Focus on Content that Converts: Content is a crucial part of any SEO strategy, and during an economic downturn, creating content that drives conversions is even more critical. Focus on creating content that resonates with your target audience and provides them with the information they need to make a purchase decision.

By following these tips, businesses can continue to invest in their SEO strategy and position themselves for success in the long term, even during challenging economic times.

How to Prepare for an Economic Downturn

  • Don’t Stress: The key to ensuring your business survives tough times is to avoid panicking. Though demanding, operating on fear and emotion can negatively impact your business’s trajectory. Instead, take a deep breath and remember that the situation will pass.
  • Set a Strategy in Place: Develop a solid plan for approaching SEO during an economic downturn. Consider investing in long-term strategies with lasting benefits of SEO rather than short-term fixes.
  • Don’t Start Experimenting: In times of economic uncertainty, sticking to what works is essential. Avoid experimenting with new SEO strategies or techniques that may not yield the desired results.
  • Partner with an SEO Agency: Consider working with an experienced SEO agency that can provide guidance and support during an economic downturn. A full-service agency can help you optimize your website, develop a content strategy, and make data-driven decisions to help your business thrive in any economic climate.
  • Monitor Your Competitors: Tracking your competitors’ SEO activity can give you an edge. Keep tabs on their keywords, backlinks, and content to determine what works for them so you can implement similar tactics.

SEO Assistance in an Economic Downturn

SEO can help your business weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side. By continuing to invest in SEO, finding what works and multiplying it, and focusing on conversion content, you can position your business for long-term success.

Learn how partnering with Boostability can ensure your SEO strategy is in good hands. Don’t let a recession hold you back. Your clients can thrive in any economic climate with the right SEO approach.


Ansley is the former Content Marketing Manager at Boostability. Since graduating from Utah State University with two degrees in Communication Studies and Journalism: Public Relations, Ansley specializes in creating engaging and informative SEO content for readers, customers, and partners through different marketing channels. Along with creating new content, Ansley works to keep content organized and creates and executes new content strategies. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, visit National Parks, and loves all things Disney.